For nearly one year we have been fighting in Hamburg for the right to live a decent life after our flight from the NATO-war in Libya. We have been refused any opportunity to work and to support ourselves and our families. We look back on years in limbo, between hope for a new life and the cold reality of European legislation against refugees and migrants, which criminalises us, calls us a problem and refuses our right to exist.
In Hamburg we experienced a year of struggle, always between the overwhelming solidarity of the people of Hamburg and the ignorance of those governing the city. The political leaders are trying to simply sit out the humanitarian crisis in their city and declare to the public that the problem has been solved. At the same time the governing politicians have thanked us for our contribution to a lively and controversial discussion in their open city and colorful civil society. Their cynicism is not breached by the fact that we, having been deprived of all our rights, have to make these contributions at the risk of our very existence, simply because we don’t have any other choice.
The only reason why we survived the winter was the practical help of the supporters of the “Solidarity Winter Emergency Program”. But this solidarity is also limited – the private initiatives, workers, students, families that supported us in our misery whilst the state neglected its responsibility only have restricted financial means. In mutual respect we had agreed right from the start that the “Solidarity Winter Emergency Program” would only be temporary and should end in April. This means that by the end of this month we will have to live on the streets again – like a year ago.
We thank our supporters for everything but we don’t want to and cannot live from their charity forever. We need a residence and a working permit. But there is no sign of development from the responsible authorities or from the senate.
They are playing for time at our expense. We have the feeling that the senate is hoping that we will
slowly vanish, that we will lose our courage and will stop fighting back. But we will not forget who we are and why we are here in Europe. We are the living evidence of the NATO-war in Libya, an aggression against our continent Africa disguised as a “humanitarian” intervention. We are the living evidence that Europe is breaking its promise in front of the whole world: The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU says that it is founded on the “indivisible and universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity” (preamble). The dead of Lampedusa and the survivors of the European refugee policy tell a different story, a story of Europe from below.
We, like countless other refugees and migrants all over Europe, resist every single day. We are here and have to tell our stories. Our struggle will continue and we call upon everyone to support us, no matter how long it will take. This is a common struggle and everyone has to contribute to create more solidarity and to make our world more just.
Group “Lampedusa in Hamburg”, 19 March 2014
As a reminder:
19 March – Anniversary of “modern” war :
Three years ago – on 19 March 2011 – the NATO bombardment of Libya started.
Eleven years ago – on 19 March 2003 – the illegal invasion of Iraq by the “Coalition of the Willing” began.